Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono plans to negotiate with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov next week on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal for a bilateral peace treaty by the end of the year.
The proposal made by Putin during the Economic Forum of the East (EEF), which took place in the Russian city of Vladivostok in early September. Tokyo, meanwhile, said it would sign the peace agreement only after the long territorial dispute between the two countries was resolved.
Kono planned to meet with Lavrov during the UN General Assembly session, which began in New York on Tuesday, the NHK broadcaster said.
In the EEF, Putin noted that the islands, disputed by Moscow and Tokyo, were small in comparison to the whole Russian territory, and said that the territorial dispute between Russia and Japan was not fundamental.
However, these political and moral disagreements have already been a very sensitive issue for both countries, Putin added, noting the need to create a comfortable environment for solving these problems.
During his meeting with Lavrov, Japan’s Foreign Minister is keen to clarify Putin’s statements on the four islands disputed by Moscow and Tokyo, the station emphasized.
In addition, Kono plans to confirm that Russia and Japan would increase their joint plans for economic activities on disputed islands between the two countries.
Kono also expressed hope that the planned meeting with Lavrov would help Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reach an agreement that might happen in the future.
The fact that Japan and Russia have never signed a permanent peace treaty after the end of World War II has been an obstacle in relations between countries. The main issue in the way of a treaty is an agreement on a group of four islands that both countries claim – Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai, collectively referred to as the Southern Kurils by Russia and Northern Territories by Japan.
Tokyo and Moscow participated in consultations on the conduct of joint economic activities in the islands in question.